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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rare White Rhinos Find New Home in Kenya's Meru National Park- With Help from IFAW and AFD

Rare White Rhinos Find New Home in Kenya's Meru National Park- With Help from IFAW and AFD


From International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Monday, March 03, 2003 12:00:00 AM

(Nairobi, Kenya) -The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - in partnership with Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) today began the translocation of an estimated nine rare white rhinos from Lake Nakuru National Park to Meru National Park as part of ongoing efforts to restock wildlife species into the vast protected area.

The rhinos will be joining the park's famous rhino Mukora, which was the sole survivor of a 1989 attack by poachers in which the park's five other rhinos at the time were killed. After the attack, Mukora was moved to Lake Nakuru National Park before he returned back home to Meru in 2001. Although the white rhino is not native to Kenya, those that have been introduced to Lake Nakuru National Park, as part of a plan to protect the species from extinction, have flourished, making this one of Kenya's most successful rhino sanctuaries.

Commenting at the start of the one-week translocation exercise, IFAW's Programme Officer for East Africa, Steve Njumbi said, "This is indeed a great success for all involved and especially IFAW, and we hope that all the targeted animals will be moved soon to their new home in Meru National Park whose rangeland is expansive and ideal for them."

The KWS Director, Michael Wamithi, emphasized that, "Kenya Wildlife Service is committed to making Meru a safe and rewarding tourist destination and wildlife habitat, and to providing the security necessary to protect these rare rhinos from the threat of poachers."

The translocation exercise is part of an on-going redevelopment programme for what was hailed as one the country's most spectacular parks in the 1970s and '80s but which, sadly, was literally brought to its knees by 1990. The park, with 12 rivers, became a haven for bandits and poachers who dealt a devastating toll -- wiping out almost the entire rhino population and reducing other key species such as elephants considerably.

With assistance from IFAW and other international donors such as AFD, the park's management capacity has benefited from revamped security operations, ecological research and a rebuilding of the park infrastructure, making Meru one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Kenya.

The translocation of these highly endangered rhinos will assist in rebuilding the animal populations that once inhabited Meru National Park. IFAW has provided support in the translocation in terms of drugs worth US$ 35,000 required to move these rhinos and later in the year reticulated giraffes and reedbucks, as part of its US$1,000,000 commitment to the Meru project.

White rhino are regarded as one of African conservation's greatest success stories - shot almost to extinction in the early part of the last century. Kenya now has about 190 in total spread within parks and private ranches.

This is the second rhino relocation effort to Meru National Park. In 2002, seven rhinos were successfully moved to the park in a joint IFAW / KWS effort.

To learn more about the Meru project and how you can help support IFAW projects worldwide, visit



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